I have served on the Rockport Select Board for two years and was on the Budget Committee for one year prior to my election to the Select Board. During that time, I have worked very hard for two major goals. My first goal was to have the Citizens of Rockport decide all major issues, like the RES East project, rather than the Select Board making decisions for them. My second goal was to be responsible with the taxpayers of Rockport’s money, and to be sure that we bring value to our citizens for the funds that they pay every year to our Town.

During my involvement in Rockport’s government, I have seen a committee, made up of many individuals from the community, work very hard to bring the best proposal possible to the taxpayers for the RES East property. After months of hard work, the Select Board voted 3 to 2 against me and decided not to let the citizens of Rockport decide whether to further pursue the proposal that the committee brought to us. Instead, the board decided that it did not need citizen approval to pursue the proposal, and to move forward on its own. While personally I feel that the proposal the RES East Committee brought to us, which involves Maine Media Associates purchasing or leasing the property from the town, is an opportunity worth exploring, I voted against pursuing it without the approval of our citizens.

Over the last year, I championed a new purchasing policy for the town of Rockport, which brings all purchases in excess of $5,000 through a competitive bid process. This new policy requires the town to go through various steps to ensure that all parties who may want to bid on a project be given adequate information to present the town with a competitive bid.

The policy adds new ways of advertising and distributing bidding opportunities. It creates a system of record-keeping so that any parties who wish to see any of these bid opportunities can see how the process operated, who won, and why the bidder was chosen. In addition, the record-keeping of this policy ensures transparency in the process so that citizens and businesses alike can be assured that equal opportunities were shared by all interested parties.

My desire to pursue this policy came from many local businesses that felt they have not had the opportunity or information necessary to competitively bid for town projects. This policy is important to me because it clearly shows that the town is pursuing the best value for its citizens, it promotes transparent organized record-keeping, and ensures that the town uses tax dollars that our citizens pay in the most efficient manner.

On June 14, Rockport voted to elect two select board members. One of these board members was reelected after a prior three-year term, and the other was elected to a three-year term after serving on the school board and a previous select board.

The people elected have served the town for many years, but do not share the same goals that I have worked hard to achieve during my term. I now sit on a board with four other individuals who do not share the same goals and beliefs for which you elected me.

Over the last two years, the board has changed from one that promotes transparency, fiscal responsibility, and value for our citizens to a board that promotes more town employees, more vehicles, etc. During the difficult economic times that we are facing, Rockport has elected a Select Board that is unwilling to make difficult cuts in order to keep our town an affordable place to live.

Elections, which express the will of the people, are the basis of our town government, and the basis of our great country. By voting to elect the people who are now a part of the Rockport Select Board, the citizens of Rockport have sent a message that they do not share the same goals that I have been pursuing.

While personally I am disappointed, I am a strong believer that democratic principles should rule our society. We have 3,330 citizens in Rockport, only 2,569 of whom are registered to vote. Of the number registered to vote, only 524 voted in the election on June 14. If, as a citizen of Rockport, you believe that the decisions of June 14 were correct and in the best interest of the town, then the will of the people is functioning properly and I step aside to allow the merit of democracy run its course. If, however, you believe that the citizens of Rockport are not being represented adequately, then it is your responsibility to our community to get to the polls and vote as you believe is right.

While I continue to live in this community, I will vote, pay my taxes and do my part within our town; but I believe that the voters of Rockport have sent a clear message. In response to this message, I feel that I should step aside and allow for Rockport to proceed in the direction it has chosen. I am, therefore, resigning my position on the Select Board effective immediately, and wish the town well in the direction that it has chosen.

Dale Landrith Jr., is a citizen of Rockport.